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In reply to an earlier post on Mar 14, 2012 9:46:20 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 14, 2012 9:47:44 PM PDT
Hikari says:
@sloany
On behalf of clueless self-absorbed Americans abroad, please allow me to apologize.

You see what a nifty trick we have pulled in America? . . Only 231 years free of our British overlords and in that same space we have managed to take credit for inventing the English language! It's our breathtaking air of self-confidence like that which so endears us to the rest of the world . . .

Did she ask for your autograph?

It would have been pretty funny if you'd replied, "J'regrette, madame . .je ne comprends pas."

After I returned from Japan, a family friend from church, whom I have regarded for many years as a sort of honorary uncle, told me that while I was gone, he and the wife had gone to Las Vegas. At his hotel he saw a large party of Japanese businessmen and said that he very much wanted to go up to them and ask "Do you know Mary?" He didn't, because he was too shy (thank goodness for that), but he was sincerely under the impression that a table full of executives from a country of 150 million people would all be acquainted with one American English teacher residing in their country. I think these men were from Osaka, furthermore. Which would be like asking a guy from South Florida if he's met your friend . . in Maine.

Really, don't think of it as 'woeful geographical and cultural ignorance', but a childlike naivete. Makes it a little easier to take! :P

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 14, 2012 9:58:54 PM PDT
You haven't heard the worst of it. The full convo....

LA: What part of England are you from?
ME: Oh,no, we're from Australia.
LA: Oh, so you Aussies speak American too, huh?
ME: Umm, yeah, umm, we do speak English, yeah.
LA: Oh, like they do in England?
ME: Yeah.
LA: So our languages are pretty similar, huh?
ME: ummmmmmmmmm

Don't feel bad. More than one aussie will say we speak Australian, or as its said down here, 'Straylien'. I've been looking into the formation of our accent, and as it turns out, not only is our 'straylien' a mixture of all the dialects of the old country, but the people of the time were making a concerted effort to make our accent identifiable to us, and us only. I kinda "to hell with ya" to the old country. A breaking that language couldn't achieve, but accent could.

Lack of education isn't bound by nationality, is what I'm saying.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 14, 2012 10:35:37 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 14, 2012 10:36:12 PM PDT
That experience with the tourist in Hawaii, the L.A. woman. That is pretty hard to wrap your head around, but it sounds pretty similar to another tourist's misunderstanding I hear every once in awhile over here, usually at Hispanic restaurants: "You speak English, right? We don't speak Mexican."

Thankfully, I haven't heard that one often, and not for several years.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 14, 2012 10:54:22 PM PDT
Hikari says:
So, perhaps our resident 'Straylien' linguist could shed some light on a burning question I've had for some time. This is in reference to the ad campaign for an American company, so forgive me if it sounds presumptuous that you'd know it, but since you watch American television, you may be familar. The Geico auto insurance company's spokeslizard is a cute little gecko. I go back and forth as to what flavor of English he's supposed to be using. Is it Cockney? Sometimes he sounds quite a bit like Michael Caine. Othertimes I think, Aussie, perhaps? Please illuminate this topic with your Straylien perspective.

I was sitting in a McDonald's in Japan one day, eavesdropping on two Kiwi English teachers talking about their classroom procedures. It was a guy and a girl, both very serious-minded about this English-teaching thing. That was the great thing about living in a melting pot of English-speaking language instructors all eager to make a buck while the getting was good. In my provincial town alone, besides the American contingent, I knew Brits, an Irish girl, several Australians, quite a few Canadians (including one shifty Quebecois by the name of Claude, who'd conned the Japanese board of education into thinking he was a native English speaker. He wasn't. He hadn't learned a word of English til he was 14 years old and it showed) . . .Oh, not forgetting the Welsh girl who lived in my building briefly. But to me the most exotic were the Kiwis. The accent is similar to Aussie but then quirks off in its own twisty way. What they do to the vowels is so interesting.

The earnest male teacher said to his female colleague:
"I give marks for preparation."

Only when he said it, it sounded like:
"Aye give maahks fir PRIPeraytion.'

And there you have a true cross-cultural experience . . .two Kiwis and an American within earhot of each other at a McDonald's restaurant in the north of Japan with squid and teriyaki on the menu. The most popular items were the fish sandwiches and the apple pies. When the fish sandwich is on the breakfast menu, and Kiwis are over at the next table, you know fo' sho' you're not in Kansas (or Ohio) anymore.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 14, 2012 11:15:20 PM PDT
I had to youtube the gecko ads, and he's definitely British. Seems to be going for the 'East-Enders' vibe. It doesn't sound too legit, though. Actually, he kinda sounds like Jamie Oliver.

Kiwi's have been the brunt of aussie jokes for as long as i can remember. For two reasons. Firstly, we like to kid that they are overly friendly with their sheep. They just swap the nationality and throw the exact same joke right back at us. And secondly, the accent. They speed the vowels up, sometimes even eradicate the vowel altogether. We say 'Fish and Chips', they say 'Fush and Chups'. Supposedly the kiwi accent is actually the closest to the originally intended pronunciation of many English words, but I find that hard to swallow.

The kiwis vs aussies battle will wage on forever, i reckon. Big brother picking on the tough younger brother. And quietly, I love kiwis. Great people, great country...talk funny.

Posted on Mar 15, 2012 8:19:46 AM PDT
Mutual incomprehension of dialect is not just a phenomenon between different Anglophone countries.

When I was at a certain well-known Northeastern graduate business school (as the cases like to put it), I recall the complete incomprehension between one man with a severe Eastern Massachusetts accent and a woman from the deep South--I believe it was Mississippi. They might as well have been speaking Swedish and German.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2012 9:58:09 AM PDT
"Hey now. If I wanted to read I wouldn't be watching movies. Exception made for Amelie."

Don't forget Godzilla and Martial Arts flicks. It's really light reading and besides, it doesn't really matter if you're drunk and misinterpret these kinds of movies. In fact, that makes them even more enjoyable.

Posted on Mar 15, 2012 11:27:29 AM PDT
Savage Lucy says:
I can't stand Godzilla movies or most martial arts movies. (Kill Bill probably doesn't count.) Maybe it's because I'm a chick, but I've never gotten the appeal. And yes, I have sat through a lot of them. I have brothers. Maybe if I had some sassy robots to watch these crummy movies with, I'd enjoy them more...

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2012 12:07:20 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 15, 2012 12:09:31 PM PDT
I wish I had some sassy robots to do my chores while I sit back, relax and watch crappy movies. Hee hee.

Posted on Mar 15, 2012 1:28:07 PM PDT
Savage Lucy says:
And to save you when you get stuck on the treadmill?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2012 2:44:11 PM PDT
Sloany re: Kiwis

When we were in Auckland a while back we struck up a conversation with a guy on the pier waiting for a ferry. After a while he asked where we were from. His first guess was Australia! Then he guessed England! Its funny, he knew we spoke his language and had an accent, but he could not place it. This surprised me. I think maybe,as my wife and her sister are from New York, he might have been confused by their accent. Who knows?

When we were in Sydney on another trip, my wife said to the porter at the hotel: "I'm sorry I don't understand what you are saying because of your accent." To which he replied: "I don't HAVE an accent. YOU have an accent"

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2012 2:50:28 PM PDT
Hikari says:
G'day, Sloany . .

Will there be an Australian full moon tonight, I wonder? :p :p :p

I just realized, when I apologized for clueless Americans abroad, that your encounter with this clueless woman occurred on our own native soil (albeit the most exotic patch). She wasn't abroad at all--you were!

Which just makes it all the worse, really. I'm embarrassed for her. And for me, to share a passport with her. I sure would like to find out what part of our great nation she went to school in.

It could have been worse. You might have been vacationing Italians and she might have asked you--"Y'all EYE-talyan? What part of It-ly you from?" No doubt you noticed all the Japanese tourists while you were there. She probably went up to one of them and rhapsodized about how much she adores sesame chicken.

Disneyland, McDonalds, Coca-Cola and stupid . . .the top four American exports.

Posted on Mar 15, 2012 4:38:11 PM PDT
TAS, H, et al

Whenever I'm Stateside, i'm constantly asked to repeat what I have said. From what I've been told, its not the accent that is the trouble, but rather that I/We talk too fast. I had never even considered that, but apparently its true, as many aussies I talk to have the same complaint made about them. It's a thin line to tread, this slowing down speech, because if you slow down too much, it sounds condescending, as though i were talking to a small child (i've had some funny looks after being told to repeat what i said, then slowing it down and having the person I am talking to look at me as if to say "I'm not stupid!")

I was reading recently about an aussie abroad (in England) who worked for a council somewhere. According to him, every morning his co-workers would greet him with exaggerated "G'day Cobber", and other aussie slangs. He didn't mind at first, but over time it started to grate on him. Months and months pass, and he starts getting depressed, feeling bullied, goes on sick-leave, and is now suing the council for not protecting him from the so-called mocking. This man, is SO un-Australian. Grow a pair, buddy.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2012 5:08:08 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 15, 2012 5:09:07 PM PDT
Hikari says:
G'day Cobber!
lol There's me bullying you, see?

That poor bullied man in England should have turned the tables back on his co-workers and mocked them incessantly in an exaggerated British accent. Worked for Craig Ferguson on the Drew Carey show--he really larded it on. Color me surprised when I found out he was actually from Glasgow! (and my world changed forever . . .)

Since he was in England, yeah, they were mocking him. Trying to put on superiority in front of a former colonial. But if he'd been in America and had a similar experience, I wouldn't have assumed right away that mocking was the intent. Because we Americans think the Aussie accent is just dead cool and wish we could talk like that.

I do find, however, that the Australian accent sits better on a rough-and-tumble man. When a delicately-boned sheila lets rip with it, it can be startling. Like the first time I heard Rose Byrne use her real voice after only knowing her American accent. Wow! I suppose you have regional differences, don't you? I find the 'Straylien' much more pronounced with some people than others, so I'm curious if a Sydneyite is going to sound very different than someone from Cairns or Adelaide.

I don't think it's a matter of being too fast . . .people might say it's too fast because actually they aren't catching the vowels. Certain Straylien speakers tend to swallow a lot of their words.

I don't think anybody speaks faster than the Mexican Spanish speakers. Except maybe the Chinese.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2012 5:23:24 PM PDT
@h,
The main reason this guy is so un-aussie is because we tend to mock EVERYBODY. You, them, ourselves, it doesn't matter. ALL shall be mocked.

Dialects differ a bit 'round here. Sydney and north are more "occa", or more "straylien" than the rest. Basically because these were the big convict states, so rebellion of the mother tongue is more pronounced. South Australia is unique as a free-settler state, so maybe a bit less occa than the rest. And Victorians have their own thing going on (kinda the same way Bostonians do).

Fastest talkers on Earth, no doubt, are the Aboriginal people. Rapid fire. And all the words meld into one long sound.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2012 5:25:55 PM PDT
Sloany:

How about those people in my favorite city: Cairns? They seem pretty laid back--and easy to understand.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2012 5:28:17 PM PDT
Georgedc says:
That's so interesting Sloany.

NOT!!! LOL!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2012 5:29:45 PM PDT
Ahh, here's Boy George laughing at his own jokes again.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2012 5:33:02 PM PDT
TAS,
ALL Queenslanders are laid back. It's an easy life up north (except when the cyclones come a'huntin). No rushing, no worries. I'll be moving up there one day, for sure. Likely Brisbane though, as the in-laws live in Cairns, and a bit of distance between us and them is always nice.

Cairns is the perfect town. Seriously perfect.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2012 5:38:53 PM PDT
Georgedc says:
yeah, i'd bet you like Queenlanders? OMG LOL!!!

:) = AHAHAHAHAHA!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2012 5:49:04 PM PDT
sloany: re Cairns

I don't know if you saw my post about it but I have been trying to put the idea of retiring to Cairns into my wife's head. Seriously. I know of no other place I have visited where I would rather live out my life. But ,though she likes it, she says its too expensive. Plus there are visa problems, etc.

But, hey, the rainforest, the barrier reef--the weather, the people. Ah, well, wouldn't it be nice.

So, I have lowered my sights to getting her to move back to San Francisco, where we both used to live and met. It is the other most laid back city I know of. I might be in with a chance there.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2012 6:45:33 PM PDT
TAS,
Yeah, I know of your liking for Cairns. Who can blame you? It's a piece of paradise. The storms ain't no joke though. If you ever moved there, be prepared for at least one or two TOWN EVACUATIONS. I suppose moving to San Fran has it's risks too, what with the quakes and all. What'll it be? The odd cow flying past your window, or your house falling into the ocean?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2012 6:52:32 PM PDT
Boy George,
That crack about "Queenlanders" was HILARIOUS. Clever too. Dropping the "s". Yep, very talented young man. OMG indeed.

Real Queenslanders, you ask?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmi8Ae3cU1E&feature=related

Posted on Mar 15, 2012 7:01:54 PM PDT
I guess this thread really doesn't live up to its name until Georgedc arrives to stink up the whole area. About the World's Worst Amazon user on the worst thread. Fitting. He still belongs back on the Politics board with all the other hypocrites and bigots and Nationalists.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 15, 2012 7:07:32 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 15, 2012 7:08:38 PM PDT
We could up the ante on this thread by throwing around some ❤Iran❤ or how about some ❤Saddam❤ or we could go straight to the worst with ❤Mike Tyson❤

Plenty of ❤ to share.
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Initial post:  Mar 7, 2012
Latest post:  Jun 9, 2014

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